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Nuclear Energy Institute
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 28, 2010
Contact: media@nei.org, 202.739.8000 or 703.644.8805 (after hours and weekends)

NEI Files Amicus Brief Supporting Challenges to DOE's Yucca Mountain License Withdrawal

The Nuclear Energy Institute today filed a brief with the U.S. District Court of Appeals in support of a petition to prevent the Department of Energy from withdrawing its license application for the Yucca Mountain, Nev., repository for used nuclear fuel. The NEI brief supports challenges by the states of South Carolina and Washington, Aiken County, S.C., and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners to DOE’s request to withdraw its license application for the Yucca Mountain disposal facility. NEI filed the brief as “amicus curiae,” or “friend of the court.”

The NEI petition focuses the court’s attention on the difference between the withdrawal of a license application for a nuclear power plant, which involves “voluntary applications by private entities for commercial purposes,” from the DOE license application for Yucca Mountain, which is “specifically directed by statute.”

DOE has asserted that it is withdrawing the license application for “policy” reasons. The states, Aiken County and NARUC assert this is a violation of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act because Congress outlined in that statute a process by which the NRC would consider the viability of the proposed repository based on the technical merits outlined in the DOE license application. NEI’s brief emphasizes that the ultimate disposal of used nuclear fuel from nuclear power plants “depends upon the existence of a geologic repository.”